Surround yourself with like-minded people who want to see you be happy and successful
Stacy Bernal is a writer, speaker, & personal development coach at See Stacy Speak LLC. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Weber State University with a degree in Public Relations and Advertising. In 2018, she founded Awesome Autistic Ogden, northern Utah’s first autism awareness event, which inspired her to create the nonprofit Bernal Badassery Foundation in 2019.
Stacy feels passionate about working with organizations that want to cultivate the inner badassery of their team members so that they feel empowered to share their voices and ideas, and create lasting change in themselves, their companies, and their communities. From once-a-bartender to now-a-board-member, she feels purposeful about sharing her message of triumph, inspiration, and empowerment.
Stacy has been featured on Thrive Global, Chicago Now, Scary Mommy, Autism Parenting Magazine, and HER Magazine. She recently published her first book, “The Things We Don’t Talk About”. She is an ultra-marathoner, eight-time marathoner and three-time triathlete. She lives happily with her husband and two sons in beautiful Utah.
Where did the idea for See Stacy Speak come from?
I won a public speaking competition in eighth grade and the rest was history. I kid, I kid. I mean, I really did win the competition, but my love for speaking didn’t blossom until many years later. I was a sales and marketing rep for a home warranty company and did presentations multiple times a week. I once had an opportunity to do a presentation for some colleagues but on a topic other than home warranties. I decided to give a “motivational presentation” and shared my story which I called “Failure to Finisher”. I started getting invited to speak for different groups, and I was hooked. I have spoken to all sorts of audiences, from lunch ladies to women in business to recovering drug addicts to corporate management trainings. From there, I started offering coaching sessions with clients. I’m also in the editing process of my first book. And I’ve had some tremendous opportunities along the way to give back to my community, which inspired me to create a nonprofit called the Bernal Badassery Foundation.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My morning starts with mindfulness exercises, coffee, and physical exercise—not necessarily in that order. I get my fur babies and sons fed and off to their days. Then I tackle the To Dos, which can include things like writing X amount of words, teaching a real estate class, networking appointments, applying for speaking gigs, and otherwise working to build my empire! I keep it productive by keeping to the list. I time block to keep myself on track. And I prioritize how and where my time is spent. If I block out a few hours for writing, I commit to that even if I’m pulled in a million other directions. And I am OFTEN pulled in a million other directions.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Much like Nike, I “Just Do It”. The beauty is that the Universe always aligns to help bring ideas to life. I surround myself with other humans who want to create lasting change and leave a positive mark on the world, and they help in the process of bringing a vision to fruition. For example, when I dreamt up the idea of Awesome Autistic Ogden (an autism awareness event turned community), I reached out to my network and got overwhelming support and help. The event was featured in a local magazine, the local news and a local radio station. We had over 40 raffle prizes donated, all the posters donated by Pepsi, and a lot of volunteers. It was an amazing day to see the idea become a reality.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Empowering and supporting women (and those who identify as women) speakers. It’s funny how you don’t realize there’s an issue with something until you realize there’s an issue with something. Before I became a speaker, I didn’t notice how many speaking events are male-dominated—sometimes even at female-targeted events! I love seeing more diversity onstage, and I’m excited to be involved with organizations that support this cause. On the nonprofit side, I love watching the community come together to support special needs families and individuals working on improving their lives. There is something magical about creating ripple effects and watching them crescendo into huge, impactful waves.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I once wrote an article for Autism Parenting Magazine about how being an autism mom made me a better employee. The principles translate directly into my entrepreneurial ventures as well, but I’d have to say the one habit that makes me more productive is long-distance running. Being a special needs parent carries some extra stress and running allows me a reprieve from it. Long-distance running requires mental and physical grit, and that grit equates to better entrepreneurial productivity. Like the Inner Badass who keeps pushing you, even on days when you’re ready to give up, you can never give up, so you have to dig deeper. You just keep going, forward motion movement. I joke that my running distances directly correlate to my stress levels—for example, when my son was diagnosed with autism that’s about the time I started running. Then when he was getting ready to start school, I ran my first marathon. When he started junior high, I ran my first 50K ultra-marathon. I run to stave off the crazy!
What advice would you give your younger self?
It’s never too late to find your purpose and live a meaningful life. But for hell’s sake, you could have done it a few years earlier!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I won’t say nobody agrees with me, but the fact that there are people who argue against things like climate change and gender wage gaps absolutely confounds me.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Continually growing, setting ridiculously impossible goals and going after them. I always have something challenging ahead of me. When I started running in 2008, I ran seven miles on a relay team that was splitting a marathon distance. I couldn’t fathom running seven miles at the time. Once I did that, I started going for more; I did a ten-mile race then a half marathon. The next year I ran my first full marathon. From there I’ve done everything from an ultra-marathon 50K to Olympic-distance triathlons. I have learned to have a growth mindset about everything I do, personally and professionally. If I see something awesome that someone has done, I think, “I could do that.” It’s how I graduated college at thirty-six and continue to break glass ceilings all around me. I challenge people to embrace growth mindsets in their lives—have a vision and execute it into reality. I always keep things on my calendar to look forward to, whether it’s a race, a vacation, a work deadline, or a coffee date with a friend.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I connect with people and organizations that align with my values, and I remain honest and authentic. What you see is what you get. I’ve been told my use of the word “badassery” is offensive and would keep me from being hired. I considered changing my branding but couldn’t bring myself to do it. I can’t flip flop my identity to please everyone. I’m actually glad if an organization passes me by because they don’t approve of my PG-13 language—that means they are not my people. There are plenty more opportunities that are. Ironically, many of the gigs I’ve gotten have been specifically because the whole badassery business resonated with the event planners and what they wanted to offer their audience. And that’s what I want: to be embraced as I am. Because that’s what I help people to do for themselves.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I failed to prepare for the mental and emotional tolls I would experience as a solopreneur. I went from being extremely busy and social in my sales rep position to being somewhat of a recluse, especially when I was working on my book. I got lonely. Plus, the process of writing was much more emotional than I had anticipated. I also never expected to feel such a shift in my relationships and I was shocked and heartbroken when I got “dumped” by some of my really good friends. I assumed that as I grew my business, my friends would be happy for and supportive of me. I was so wrong. I overcame my disappointment by reminding myself that I’m doing something important, something bigger than me, and I don’t need their permission or approval to do it. I’ve sought out other badass tribes of like-minded men and women who want to see me successful and encourage me to keep shining. I’ve been humbled by the people who have stepped up to help lift me up.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
If you are an expert in a specific field or industry, consider adding speaking to your wheelhouse, especially if you are a woman. Your voice is needed. Join your local Toastmasters, check out the National Speakers Association, or do a Google search on professional speaking. You have the potential to create ripple effects of positive change—isn’t that exciting?
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently joined KeyNote Women Speakers, a speaking network based out of Singapore whose mission is to help get more diversity on speaking stages around the world. I was fortunate to get on as one of ten founding members for the USA chapter of this organization. I had to pay just over $100, which is an investment very well spent, especially considering the thousands of dollars I’ve spent on other speaker platforms that have done little for my business. I also have the opportunity to mentor and coach newer speakers, and I am thrilled to help others in their speaking careers. There’s a lot of power when you choose collaboration over competition.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I used to use PowerPoint but now I use beautiful.ai for my presentations. I love it; I love that it’s easily accessible, I don’t have to worry about any issues with formatting changes, and the videos embed better than when I used PowerPoint. I use it for teaching my real estate continuing education classes as well as my professional speaking gigs.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Do I really have to narrow it down to one? I literally could list dozens. But if I have to choose, I’d go with “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek. It’s a “leadership” book, but so much more than that, too. I think many more people are leaders than they realize and the concepts in this book help them to see that. I know I felt that way the first time I read it. I think not only businesses and organizations, but every person should have their solid WHY. Once I came up with my own, it changed the way I thought about work, life and purpose. I make major life decisions now based on whether or not something aligns with my WHY. My personal and professional life are better from having read this book.
What is your favorite quote?
“I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.” Brené Brown
• Surround yourself with like-minded people who want to see you be happy and successful
• Continually grow, get out of your comfort zone, and always have something on the horizon that both scares and excites you
• Discover your WHY and live it authentically
• Don’t be scared to get in the arena